Waste management: Experts advise adoption of circular economy model


Some experts on Thursday called for the adoption of “take, make, recycle and reuse” system of waste disposal to resolve Nigeria’s waste management challenges.

The experts spoke at a webinar organised by the Financial Centre for Sustainability,  Lagos (FC4SL) in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

The webinar had as its theme: “How Circular Economy Drives Sustainable Development”.

The experts also called for a switch from linear economic model of “take, make and dispose” system to a circular economic model of “take, make, recycle and reuse” system of waste disposal.

Ms Jessica Long, Co-Author, “The Circular Economy Handbook,” said the current global system, with an expected population of 9.2 billion by 2050 and a 1.75 times consumables higher than earth’s capacity, was at a critical and unsustainable state.

Long, stating the pertinent need to change method of production and consumption, urged businesses to play a critical role by innovating for new forms of value creation.

Long said the linear economic system would not support solutions to our global challenges.

According to her, the circular economic model offered a solution by designing “waste out of our systems” to obtain net positivity by looping back products into the system at the end of a recyclable use.

Long said that $4.5 trillion was the value stake to be unlocked by the adoption of circular economic model by 2030.

She added that organisations must mature along four dimensions of products and services, ecosystem, operations, and culture and organisation to pivot from linear to circular economic model.

“The circular economy would create an unprecedented opportunity to secure a sustainable future, create competitive advantage and bring substantial value and benefits.

“It focuses across value chain on both production and consumption by using renewable sources and bio based materials that are either recycled or recyclable to enable partial or total elimination of waste,” she said.

Long added that key enablers essential to full value of a circular economy include reverse logistics, ecosystem, consumer engagement, design, and disruption technologies.

“We must accelerate with the fourth industrial revolution to enable the smart use of resources and create new opportunities.

“In leveraging the disruptive technology of the 4th industrial revolution, Apple used robotics to recover valuable materials from iPhone and offer financial incentives for consumers to return electronic products through its give back programme,” she said.

Ms Agharese Onaghise, Executive Secretary, Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA), promoted the adoption of the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) implementation in the nation to remarkably impact the waste sector.

According to her, the implementation would preserve the environment, ignite innovation, create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for repurposing of packaging wastes.

“There are opportunities for collaboration in segregation and collection infrastructure, waste to energy, PET flakes and rPET crystals production, feasibility studies and research developments among others,” she said.